There are few things as powerful as the right question at the right time. And team-building questions are no exception.
In this article, we’ll discuss not only the best team-building questions for our team but also scenarios in which these questions are most effective.
Let’s dive in.
Icebreakers for Team Building
A team can use icebreaker questions to make new members feel at ease or reinvigorate team passion for a dragged-out project.
Below are just some of the benefits of icebreakers for your team:
- Build a friendly informal learning environment that is conducive to achieving project goals
- Facilitate a more positive attitude in participants and set them at ease
- Encourage self-discovery and smooth out tensions in your group
Getting icebreakers right requires a certain amount of expertise: a poorly formed icebreaker comes off as forced or in-genuine.
Here are some examples of icebreakers you can start using with your team:
For remote workers:
- How do you combat distractions while you work from home?
- What’s the farthest place you’ve ever been from home?
- What could we do to improve our virtual meetings?
All-around icebreaker questions:
- What celebrity would you like to have over for dinner and why?
- If you could write a book, what genre would it be?
- Would you rather be a bird or an animal? Which one and why?
- What is your favorite mythological creature or character?
- What was the most embarrassing fashion trend you ever followed?
- Were you ever told you looked like someone famous?
- Who is your favorite Disney movie, and why?
- If you had a dream house, what would it look like?
- What would your entrance theme song be if you were a boxer?
- When you were a kid, who was your favorite actor/actress?
- What book had a significant impact on you?
- What’s your favorite movie scene?
You can use Geekbot to send personal, fun questions to teammates on autopilot. There are over 100 pre-written icebreaker and team-bonding questions that are selected at random, or you can create your own.
Trust Building Questions
The level of trust is one of the critical parameters for any team because it defines how collaborative, cooperative, and supportive your team members are to each other. As a result, a higher level of trust in teams leads to higher productivity and creativity.
Tobi Lütke, a chief executive as Shopify, shared a concept of “trust battery,” which proved to be fundamental to the company’s unprecedented growth:
“Trust battery is charged at 50 percent when people are first hired. And then every time you work with someone at the company, the trust battery between the two of you is either charged or discharged, based on things like whether you deliver on what you promise.”
The following questions will help you analyze the level of trust in your team and increase it:
- Is there anything you want in your career right now?
- How flexible are you in balancing work and personal responsibilities?
- What would you do to make your colleagues trust you more?
- Which was the last thing you trusted your colleagues with?
- What would you be doing if you weren’t working at your current job?
The daily stand is a pillar meeting in Agile methodology, but its simple concept and top-notch efficiency make this meeting ultra-useful for any team.
A standard stand-up meeting consists of three main questions that every participant get to answer:
- What did you do yesterday?
- What are you going to do tomorrow?
- Are there any roadblocks preventing you from work?
You can customize these questions or add a fourth question to tailor the stand-up meetings to the specific needs of your teams or warm-up participants before the meeting:
Here are some examples of team-building questions for your stand up meetings:
- What was the last movie you watched?
- What was the last thing you bought?
- What was the last thing or the fact you learned?
- What was the last challenge you overcame?
- What was the last praise someone gives you on a team?
- When was the last time you reached out for the team’s help?
Monthly 1o1 Questions
Regular monthly 1o1’s are an integral part of successful team management. Experienced leaders use monthly 1o1’s to check in with team members, identify global challenges, and identify improvement areas.
Properly framing 1o1 questions is crucial as poorly worded questions may send employees into a defensive mode and eliminate any chance of helpful feedback.
But preparing for one-on-one meetings can be time-demanding as you need to review previous meetings notes, identify employees’ main concerns and decide on what to focus on all within a span of a one-hour meeting. Ultimately, half of your 1-on-1 meeting is wasted on figuring out what to talk about. This precious time can be saved.
Although 1-on-1 meetings can’t and shouldn’t be automated, managers still can use tools to save time on preparation for these meetings.
You can set up Geekbot to send employees a list of preliminary questions that they can quickly answer before the actual meeting starts. Analyzing their responses you can quickly decide how to structure your meetings with them for maximum positive impact. As an added bonus, Geekbot stores all the previous responses in the same Slack channel so you can quickly review historical data and analyze your progress.
Here are some of the questions we’ve integrated into Geekbot’s monthly 1o1 template:
- What was your highlight of the month?
- Was anything a particular struggle?
- Any blockers I can help remove?
- Were you on track with your goals this month?
- What was least clear to you in terms of team priorities?
- If there was one thing I could do to help you, what would it be?
- On a scale of 1-10, how happy are you with your work-life balance?
- How can we get you closer to 10?
- Growth-wise, where do you want to focus next month?
- Anything you’d like to add?
Using Geekbot, you can drastically improve the efficiency of regular monthly or weekly 1o1’s meetings by sending prep questions directly in Slack, saving both your and your employee’s time.
You cannot underestimate the importance of retrospectives as they allow team members to continually improve upon their workflow while identifying deeply buried obstacles that negatively affect team productivity at large.
Often teams neglect retrospectives, deeming them as a typical boring meeting with no tangible outcome. If that’s your case, you need to address the issue as soon as possible. We’ve read a complete guide on how to effectively run retrospectives in your team.
But for now, use these team-building questions at the beginning of your retrospectives to restore your team’s faith in them and make your retrospectives more fun and engaging:
- What do you think your team members appreciate the most in you?
- Which skill or competence do you bring with you to the team?
- How do you feel about the last retrospective?
Describe the last iteration with just one word.
- What weather event would you use to describe the last sprint?
- What was the most significant thing you learned from your teammates during the previous sprint?
Trying to make your retrospective even more engaging and efficient? Check out our guide on 10 Retrospective Games Ideas To Keep Your Retros Fun, Engaging, and Productive.
If you want to put your team-building on autopilot and regularly ask your teammates the right questions at the right time, try Geekbot.
Geekbot offers a whole spectre of team-building features such as asynchronous daily standups, personalised icebreakers, real-time team happiness charts, and so much more!
Use our 30-day trial and see for yourself how much a truly happy and organized team can achieve!
Frequently asked questions
What is a Good Question to Ask Coworkers?
If you want to ask your co-worker a great question, take into account the context. For example, work-related questions should facilitate openness and trust without assigning some form of blame. For non-work questions, the best questions are both specific and open-ended, which means you can answer them with a simple “Yes” or “No”. For example, ask people to remember their vivid child memory or exciting travel experience.
Why Makes an Effective Team-building Question?
An effective team-building question lets team members learn more about each other, share a common experience, and find new perspectives at the same time. When asking a team-building question, make sure it’s inclusive and every member of your team can answer it. Effective team-building questions are open-ended, which means they facilitate deeper discussion rather than short one-sided answers.
How to Ask a Team-building Question?
Before asking a team-building question, make sure your team members are ready to answer it. Set the stage by asking simple icebreaker questions such as “What’s the last book you read?” and gradually move to more complex and deeper subjects such as life-changing experiences, opinions, and views. Try evading controversial topics such as politics or religion in low-trust team environments.